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The Good We Do: Noah Liben


An abused wife with multiple sclerosis and her son have a second shot at life thanks to Noah Liben.

As a law student, he had volunteered as a law student with Fordham Law's Domestic Violence Awareness Clinic. Now a young associate at Mayer Brown in New York City, he was looking to do some pro bono work.

When his firm's pro bono coordinator sent him a digest of open pro bono cases, he "jumped at the chance" to help Judith (not her real name).

Judith, a Bronx resident and the mother of a two-year old son, had reached out to InMotion to obtain a divorce from her husband. Throughout her marriage, her husband had hit, pushed and choked her. He repeatedly violated the order of protection against him and continued to stalk her.

Before no-fault divorce was legal in New York, Judith filed for an uncontested divorce. She and Liben thought the case would resolve quickly, but Judith's husband continually complicated matters. At the same time, Judith was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis limiting her mobility and diminishing her eyesight.

In his first official court appearances as an attorney, Liben represented Judith in four legal matters. He persuaded the court to conduct a child support inquest without Judith's husband and successfully advocated for $200 per month in child support.

But after the divorce was finalized, Judith's now ex-husband filed for visitation rights and an order of protection against her. He falsely alleged that Judith had violated the temporary order of protection and tried to have her arrested. However, the police had arrested him for routinely violating Judith's orders of protection against him.

Liben volunteered again to represent Judith before the Bronx County Integrated Domestic Violence Court. He successfully negotiated with opposing counsel and had Judith's ex-husband's family offense petition withdrawn.

When the ex-husband violated the restricted temporary visitation order, Liben convinced the court to dismiss the ex-husband's visitation petition altogether. He also obtained a money judgment for the back child support he owed.

At the end of this ordeal, Judith secured a divorce, full custody of her son with no visitation rights, a three-year order of protection, and a child support award.

The last time Liben spoke to Judith, she was "in good spirits." Liben said his work with Judith was a "great experience, personally and professionally."

"It was a different dynamic than the large cases I work on," said Liben, who practices litigation and dispute resolution cases. "It was extremely gratifying to really help an individual in a tangible way."

Liben received the President's Pro Bono Service Award for the Twelfth Judicial District in 2012.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 30, 2012 3:48 PM.

The previous post in this blog was The Good We Do: Benjamin Pomerance.

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